Anne McCaffrey's Dragonflight is a rare thing - a genuinely original story rather than another genre clone. And yet this richly imagined tale includes elements of a great many well loved movies - the disinherited young woman who fulfills a destiny far beyond her imaginings, the great and enduring love that she finds along the way, the looming threat that will bring an end to everything she loves, the elite band of heroes who stand against that threat (even though they know they can't win), the impossible act of bravery that saves the day and yes, the cavalry that thunders over the hill in the final reel. They are all there, familiar themes that pull you into the story, and yet Ms McCaffrey's unique setting and particular use of them will delight you.
The girl is Lessa, forced into servitude by the Lord who ursurped her lands and title, but whose success in winning back those lands brings her to the attention of the Dragon Riders of the title. Though too few in numbers, and barely tolerated by a world that has forgotten the need for the great telepathic dragons and their riders, they are all that stands against the coming dark. They need Lessa, and it is with the riders that Lessa finds her most enduring love when she bonds with the newly hatched, and last, of the golden queen dragons. As to the threat, well that's one of the things that makes Dragonflight unique as it does not involve hordes of the undead, orcs or aliens. Similarly, the act of bravery stands out as one of the best imagined resolutions to an impossible problem in fiction. And arrival of the cavalry is just that, but with a neat McCaffrey twist that brings all of the plot lines together, as every ending should. Dragonflight is a great read.